Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Managing Grocery Inventory

With the economy in the dumps, people are paying more attention to couponing. By cutting and using coupons, you can save a lot of money on items you use every day. But all this money saving can lead to one issue: inventory management.

Many deals out there either require the purchase of multiple items or the deal is so amazing (like free!) that you take advantage and buy more than one. Deals like this are too hot to pass up, but what is the point of getting a good bargain if the items are going to expire from lack of use or cause you stress because they become clutter? Here are some helpful tips on how to manage your bargains:

• Dedicate space for your extras. Set aside a space on a shelf, in a cupboard or in the garage for inventory. Make it a spot that is as visible as possible so you don’t forget what you have. A shelf in your garage that you walk by daily is a great idea. You will always notice what you have more than enough of and what you might be running low on while simply walking to your car.
• Store like items together in the appropriate areas. All your toothpaste should be together in the bathroom where it is used. If you don’t have space in the bathroom, then store all extra toothpastes together in a designated spot.
• Always take stock of what you have before buying more. Like I mentioned earlier, a bargain can still become a waste of money if you don’t ever use it. So when you see the next amazing deal on cookies, check your inventory. If you already have enough cookies to last you through the next ice age, hold off.
• Follow the grocery stockers lead and maintain your shelves. When adding more jars of peanut butter to your inventory, put the newest jars in back and pull the oldest ones forward to the front where they will be used first. Always keep the oldest stock closest to the front so you use it in a timely manner.
• Keep labels visible. Make your inventory easy to see. Keep labels turned forward and use graduated shelving (can be purchased at Target or Bed, Bath and Beyond) for things like cans that are all the same size. This creates a storage system that is visually easy to manage.
• Remember to donate. Part of keeping track of your inventory, is checking expiration dates. If you find that you have food or perishables that won’t last until you can use them, pass them along to someone who can. Donate to a shelter or a food bank. You should regularly go through your inventory to see how things are doing. Know what you have so you don’t waste money or product.

So maximize your dollars in two ways – by saving money with coupons and by keeping track of inventory. Happy Shopping!

Meagan Farrell, professional organizer, is the owner of Clear the Clutter organizing services. She can be reached at (360) 631-7268 or at clear_theclutter@yahoo.com. Check out her blog at http://cleartheclutterprofessionalorganizing.blogspot.com/

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